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plunder of a Russian caravan by the Khan of Khiva and
the losses sustained by Russian subjects at Shamakha.
Mahmud, whose knowledge of foreign policy must have
been slight, informed the Muscovite ambassadors that he
could control neither the Uzbegs nor the Lesgians. The
fact was self-evident, but the admission strengthened the
case for a forward policy, and Peter felt justified in acting
upon it. He descended the Volga in a flotilla carrying
thirty-three thousand infantry and effected a junction in
Daghestan with a force of cavalry which had marched from
Astrakhan.1 He issued a proclamation in which he de-
clared that he had no designs of territorial aggrandisement,
after which he took possession of Derbent, the importance
of which has already appeared in this history. The Tsar
was proceeding towards Shamakha and Baku when an
Ottoman ambassador appeared on the scene, announced
the capture of Shamakha by a Turkish force, and declared
that any further advance by Russia would be deemed a
casus belli. Peter was unwilling to provoke hostilities with
Turkey at this juncture and withdrew to Russia, leaving a
garrison of three thousand men at Derbent.
His Occupation of Resht and Baku> A.D. 1723.—During
the following winter Resht was besieged by the invading
Afghans. Its Governor sent an envoy to Astrakhan and
offered to open the city gates to a Russian army. Peter
at once took advantage of this piece of good fortune, and
occupied not only Resht but other centres. The adminis-
tration of the province, however, was not interfered with,
but remained in the hands of the local Khans. During
the summer that followed the occupation of Resht, Baku
was bombarded and capitulated.
The Treaty of Shah Tahmasp with Russia^ A.D. 1723.—
Tahmasp, unable to meet the invaders in the field, made
a bid for the support of Peter. In return for the expul-
sion of the Afghans, to which Russia pledged herself,
Tahmasp agreed to cede Shirwan, Daghestan3 Gilan,
Mazanderan, and Astrabad. But no attempt was made
by Peter to expel the Afghans, nor were any of the pro-
1 A good account of this expedition is given in the Memoir of P. H. JBrucfj a
Scottish soldier of fortune who took part in the campaign.